IT is midway through the six state elections that are turning out to be almost as crucial as a general election.
Campaigning in Kedah, Kelantan, Negri Sembilan, Penang, Selangor and Terengganu began last Saturday and quickly heated up.
Some politicians are in take-no-prisoners mode to win at all costs.
They think nothing of playing up 3R (race, religion and royalty) issues, especially on Malaysia’s infamously rancorous social media.
Various royal personages have made statements about not using the 3R issues on the campaign trail, and the police have said they are keeping a close eye on things and any dirty tactics will be promptly shut down.
Yet, there are still daily reports on the matter that the cops have been kept busy investigating.
And then there are those politicians who use slander to win votes.
The victims – their opponents and corporations – are countering by initiating legal suits.
The slander has even become personal in some instances with some candidates saying outrageous things about opponents.
Victims have turned to the courts for gag orders, but the ugly lies are quick to spread over social media because Malaysians insist on forwarding every little thing without taking even a few seconds to consider the harm they do.
Have we – candidates and citizens alike – not learnt any lessons from last year’s bitterly fought general election?
Not to mention the politicking in the years leading up to it that created a revolving door at Putrajaya?
Let’s have a clean campaign that will not tear apart Malaysia’s unity and harmony, okay?
Candidates, it’s no use winning power by sowing so much hatred that you won’t be able to govern your state afterwards. Remember the Malay proverb: “Menang sorak, kampung tergadai”, which means winning applause, but the village – or, in this context, Malaysia – gets pawned.
Instead, show your intellect and maturity by staying away from emotional 3R issues and tell your constituents how you will help them deal with the bread-and-butter matters that everyone is struggling with.
Citizens, report candidates who break the rules and – please – do not forward everything you come across on social media without verifying sources.
Most importantly, fellow Malaysians, do not succumb to voter fatigue, and do go out and vote.
Whether it’s a general or state election, every single vote counts, so make sure you get to the ballot box on Aug 12.